Haunted Eureka

Yesterday I wrote that my husband and I chose to stay at The Crescent Hotel when we went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas for a visit. I said that we wanted local flavor and didn’t want the intimacy of a bed and breakfast. I lied. We stayed at The Crescent, because it’s haunted.

I confess that the Eureka Springs Ghost Tours caught my attention. I’m a sucker for things like that. They offered a tour of the historic hotel led by real live psychics and said we would hear lots of legends about the hotel. That’s what I wanted.

We checked in at The Crescent and discovered our room was right next door to the office for the ghost tour. That seemed convenient at the time. We were anticipating the tour that evening, but decided to take a look around the hotel and perhaps book massage for the next day.

The New Moon Spa is located in the basement of the hotel, so we walked down the stairs and into their offices. The frazzled woman behind the desk explained that they had no openings that day. As I stood there listening to her, I was getting a little dizzy. The room seemed to be swirling. It had been an exhausting drive from the Dallas area. We had been in the car eight hours. I didn’t feel like standing around trying to figure out another time for an appointment, so we went back to the hotel lobby.

Upstairs, the air seemed more fresh, and I perked up a bit. There is an art gallery located in the lobby of the hotel. A sculpture and some blown glass were beckoning me to visit, so my husband and I entered the shop to explore. We “ooohed” and “aaaahhhed” over all of the exquisite works by nationally known artists. But, as I talked to the clerk at the checkout counter, I began feeling light headed again. We decided it would be best to rest in the room for awhile before the tour. I didn’t want to miss it.

I decided to relax on the veranda outside our room to enjoy the view. After a few minutes, the hotel cat came prancing up the stairs. Though she seemed quite friendly, and seemed to want attention, she wouldn’t stay to let me pet her. Instead, she scampered on to the room two doors down. She rubbed all over the door, dancing around and arching her back as if she were being stroked, then went on her way. It seemed like strange behavior. But, it was a cat. Cats are strange.

When 7:00 rolled around, we lined up for our ghost tour. Our tour guide led us first to the basement outside of the New Moon Spa. The man related to us that this area was one of high energy and a lot of paranormal activity. In this part of the hotel, when it had been a cancer hospital, many people had been operated upon and died. This basement is where Dr. Norman Baker and his colleagues performed gruesome experimental surgery, and then autopsies on the victims. Supposedly, when renovations were done on the hotel several years back, workmen found human bones cemented into the walls.

7ourguideAs our guide droned on (and on and on and on), I was feeling dizzy and overheated. I needed to sit down. Just then, a young girl near me slumped into a faint. It seems she had been standing with her knees locked (which can cause you to faint). But, then our guide also told us that when that paranormal activity occurs (OK, when a ghost comes near you), it can cause fainting, dizziness, or the sensation of feeling extremely cold or hot! The hairs on the back of my neck began to stand at attention. Especially so when he explained that another area of high energy was in the gallery upstairs (where I had been feeling dizzy earlier in the day!).

I won’t spoil the tour for you by telling you ALL about it. We got the opportunity to explore the basement areas that were normally off limits and to take pictures hoping for orbs (bright lights) or images of ghosts. Then, we went upstairs. We traveled through different parts of the building hearing many different tales of ghostly encounters. We took lots of pictures. Do you see any orbs? I don’t.

1 4 stairwell stairwell2


After touring the rest of the hotel, to my surprise, we stopped two doors down from our room. The guide then explained that this was probably the most “haunted room” in the building. He told us about a ghost named “Michael.”

michaelsroomIn life, Michael was an Irish lad who worked on the construction of the hotel. He was reportedly a good humored young man, who was quite a practical joker. He loved to scandalize the ladies by flirting with them and flexing his muscles for them in his sleeveless undershirts (this was the Victorian era, and he made many a woman blush with his antics). Tragically, Michael slipped while working one day and fell through several floors of scaffolding. He died on what would later become Room 218.

Now, Michael haunts that room. He plays a myriad of mischievous tricks and makes banging noises in the walls and in the halls. I had to wonder if Michael’s presence was why the hotel cat was attracted to the room. Was she being petted by a ghost?

Though the tour that night took us through several other halls with interesting stories, Michael stuck in my mind. Perhaps because there is a statue of him in the lobby … or perhaps because he was two doors down from us. I lay awake half the night hoping to hear banging in the walls or the sound of a ghost gurney being wheeled down the hall (another common occurence). But, there were no peeps out of any ghosts.

The next morning, as I drank coffee on the veranda, the guest in room 218 came out on the balcony, too. I couldn’t resist calling out (in my fake Irish accent), “So, Darlin’, did you see Michael last night?”

He laughed and sauntered over with his coffee. Here’s the story he told me:

My wife and I had stayed in Eureka Springs several years ago in a b&b downtown. We had come up to The Crescent just to look around, and because they served Starbucks coffee. I went to the basement to use the Men’s room. When I entered, there was a gentleman washing his hands at the sink. He was dressed in an old fashioned suit and wore a bowler hat. I thought nothing of it, because there was an antique car show in town, and many people were dressed in vintage costumes.

The man smiled at me as he smoothed his handlebar mustache and said, “I really must be going, I’m late again.” He walked around the corner, but I never heard the door open.

That seemed odd, so I looked around the corner, and the man wasn’t there. As I took the elevator back upstairs, I noticed a picture on the wall of the elevator. It was a group of the townspeople from back in the 1800’s. In the midst of the group, was the man I had seen in the restroom.

So, when I got the chance to come and stay here, I asked for Michael’s room, because I had heard the legend. I wanted to see a ghost.

When I checked in, I brought my briefcase up the room, turned on the lights, and opened the drapes. Then, I went down to my car to get my luggage. When I came back to the room, the lights were off, the drapes were closed, and my briefcase was by the door. Room service swore they had not been in my room!

Last night, after the ghost tour was over, I heard noises outside my door. I opened it to find two women taking pictures of each other in front of the haunted room. I asked if they would like to see Michael’s room, and of course they did. They came in and took some pictures, but as we stood talking, the bathroom door slowly creaked closed and clicked shut. That room is level, so I don’t know how it happened. I opened the bathroom door again, and the women went on their way. Later, as I sat watching television, the door closed and clicked shut again.

Before I went to bed, I opened the bathroom door. I crawled into bed and turned out the lights. As I was drifting off to sleep …. the door creaked to a close and clicked shut. I just pulled the covers over my head.

Other than that, nothing unusual happened.

During our stay, several different guests were in that room trying to take pictures of the ghost. I don’t know if anyone saw anything more. I know that I didn’t see a ghost, darn it. The only noises I heard in the night (other than my own snoring) were from the people who lined up in the hall each evening to buy tickets for the ghost tour. Don’t get a room near that office if you like peace and quiet!

Oh, yes, I had felt that dizziness when we arrived. But, I have to remember that I have a vivid imagination, I’m old and tired, and I’m experiencing the “change of life.” Any of those could have caused me to feel dizzy and hot!

Are there ghosts in that hotel? Check it out for yourself and see what YOU think.

By the way…it’s only me in that top picture.

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